Economist Bill Cheney Lectures at Becker College

Published on Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

The Franklin M. Loew Lecture Series continued on March 31st with "The U.S. Economy: How Scared Should We Be?" by Bill Cheney. Mr. Cheney is the Chief Economist of John Hancock Financial /MFC Global Investment Management. The John Hancock economist, quoted widely in the media, presented a comprehensive review of our current economic situation and discussed a wide array of possible future outcomes.

Speaking in front of Becker students, faculty, and the public in a full Daniels Hall, Mr. Cheney commented that "The US has always had regional housing cycles or bubbles. But this time, due to a variety of factors, we had a national housing cycle and bubble. And the bubble burst." The housing collapse then triggered a whole series of other events – from the loss of trust in global financial institutions to conventional and unconventional monetary policy – which have made terms like "credit crunch" and "stimulus programs" new household words.

Mr. Cheney went on to offer five best bets based on actual outcomes. He said, "Politics: nothing loses elections like rising unemployment – governments will try ‘everything’ as things get worse. ‘Everything’ will stop the slide eventually: stability in Q3 2009 is possible, more likely Q4 in the U.S. and later in Europe and Japan. Effects on consumer and government behavior may linger: less consumption, more government spending, higher inflation, oil price and interest rates will follow – but only after sustained growth resumes: it will be a welcome change. Perhaps in 2011? Lenders will get back to business when growth makes borrowers creditworthy again."

Mr. Cheney’s lecture was the second of six in this spring’s Franklin M. Loew Lecture Series at Becker College. The series is a forum that invites scholars and professionals to present lectures on topics of interest and importance. All lectures in the Franklin M. Loew Lecture Series are open to the Becker College community and the general public at no charge.